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Slide Rock State Park Guide — Orchard, Camping, and More 

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Amar Hussain
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Amar Hussain

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Amar is an avid traveler and tester of products. He has spent the last 13 years traveling all 7 continents and has put the products to the test on each of them. He has contributed to publications incl...
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Slide Rock State Park attracts nearly half a million visitors annually. The park’s primary attraction is the 80-foot-long natural waterslide, but there’s more to this park. Visitors can explore historic homesteads and long-standing apple orchards and hike through the park’s winding trails.

How To Get to Slide Rock State Park

Where Is Slide Rock State Park?

Slide Rock State Park is in Sedona, Arizona, in the heart of Oak Creek Canyon. The park covers 43 acres of land and boasts historic homesteads, apple orchards, red rocks, desert scenery, and Oak Creek. The city of Flagstaff, Arizona, is 25 miles to the north of the park.

Slide Rock State Park Opening Hours and Seasons

Slide Rock State Park is open throughout the year, but the hours of operation vary depending on the season. The park is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. from February to early December. During the winter months, from early December to early February, the park is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The park is closed on Christmas Day but open on other holidays, with shortened Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve hours.

Hot Tip:

Entry and swim areas close an hour earlier than the park’s closing time each day.

Nearest Airport to Slide Rock State Park

The nearest major airport to Slide Rock State Park is Flagstaff Pulliam Airport (FLG). This airport serves flights to and from 2 major hubs: Phoenix (PHX) and Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW). American Airlines is the only airline that services this airport and provides daily nonstop flights. It takes just 30 minutes to drive from the airport to the park. Once you arrive, you can rent a car or arrange a ride-share service to get to the park.

Driving to Slide Rock State Park

Driving to the park is easy and scenic. Visitors from Sedona head southeast on North State Road 89A, continue straight through the traffic circle, and the park will be on your left. Those arriving from Flagstaff take South Beaver Street and West Butler Avenue to Route 66. Then, take AZ-89A to Slide Rock State Park Road, and the park will be on your right.

Taking the Train to Slide Rock State Park

There is no direct train service to Slide Rock State Park. However, Amtrak provides a scenic train ride to Flagstaff, the closest station to the park, just 22 miles away. You can arrange a taxi or ride-share service to cover the last leg of your journey to the park.

Taking the Bus to Slide Rock State Park

Amtrak offers bus service to Sedona for visitors who prefer to travel to the park by bus. Once you arrive at the bus stop, it’s just a short drive to the park entrance. You can quickly get to the park by taxi or ride-share service from the bus stop.

Getting Around Slide Rock State Park

The best way to explore the park is by foot. Park your car in the designated parking area and take one of the several hiking trails that wind through the park. These trails offer stunning views of the historic buildings, orchards, and wildlife. The park provides a printable map to help you plan your adventures and make the most of your visit.

What To See and Do in Slide Rock State Park

Slide Rock State Park offers a variety of activities to explore. You can tour historic homesteads, hike along nature trails, slide down a natural sandstone slide, and observe wildlife in their natural habitat.

Apple Orchard

Apple Orchard Slide Rock State Park
Image Credit: Arizona State Parks & Trails

The orchard at Slide Rock State Park is a sight to behold. It stretches over a vast area and is home to a staggering total of 300 apple trees. Each of these trees has been carefully tended to by expert cultivators, ensuring they are in the best possible health and can bear the finest quality apples. The orchard is surrounded by lush greenery, and visitors can stroll through the winding paths that cut through the trees.

As you walk, you’ll be treated to the sweet fragrance of fresh apples and the melodious chirping of birds that make their homes among the branches. The orchard is a true testament to the beauty of nature and a must-visit for anyone seeking an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Fishing

Anglers visiting Slide Rock are in for a treat with abundant opportunities to reel in a catch. Trout fishing is particularly popular upstream of the park, where there is a lot of action. Although fishing is not permitted within the park boundaries, there are plenty of opportunities to fish between the West Fork confluence and the park. The waters of Oak Creek are home to wild brown trout and stocked rainbow trout.

Hiking Trails

Hiking enthusiasts can have a great time at the park, which offers short, easy trails suitable for visitors of all ages. Coconino National Forest is located nearby and features several hiking trails for those who are up for more of a challenge. Slide Rock State Park has many trails, including the Clifftop Nature Trail, Slide Rock Route, and the Pendley Homestead Trail.

Along these hikes, visitors can catch glimpses of the Pendley Homestead and historic buildings, Oak Creek, and the Slide Rock swimming area. The trails are all approximately a quarter-mile long, and virtual tours are available online for those who want to preview them before heading out.

Bottom Line:

Hiking these trails is an excellent way to gain insight into the natural and cultural history of the park.

Pendley Homestead

The Pendley Homestead is along the main paved trail in Slide Rock State Park. It should be at the top of your must-visit list when you are in the area. This attraction has a gazebo-style kiosk with large posters displaying information about the homestead and other park details.

Visitors can step back in time and better understand why the Pendleys decided to build their lives in this area. Historic farm implements along the Pendley Homestead Trail are on display, providing historical information and photo opportunities.

Slide Rock

Slide Rock
Image Credit: Arizona State Parks & Trails

Slide Rock is a magnificent natural waterslide in the park’s heart, perfect for sliding and swimming. Every year, it draws hundreds of thousands of thrill-seekers looking to experience the ultimate aquatic adventure. The slide is an impressive 80 feet long and ranges from 2.5 to 4 feet wide. The rocks on the slide’s surface are coated with slippery algae, making for an exhilarating ride.

As you glide along the water, you’ll experience an adrenaline rush as you take in the breathtaking beauty of the surrounding red rock formations. It’s truly an unforgettable experience for anyone who loves to explore the great outdoors. It’s no wonder Slide Rock has repeatedly been named to the Travel Channel’s list of the Top 10 Swimming Holes in the United States.

Wildlife Viewing

The park offers an excellent opportunity to observe various animals in their natural habitat. Home to a broad range of wildlife, park visitors may encounter whitetail deer, black bear, and javelina, as well as a diverse collection of birds such as the Steller’s jay and hummingbirds. The best places to spot these animals are near the main picnic area, apple orchards, and hiking trails. Don’t forget to bring your camera and binoculars to enhance your viewing experience.

Best Times To Visit Slide Rock State Park

Slide Rock State Park is an exceptional park to visit at any time of the year. Certain times may be more suitable for specific activities or events.

Best Time To Visit Slide Rock State Park in Winter

Slide Rock State Park in Winter
Image Credit: Rob Sarmiento via Unsplash

Winter is a fantastic season to visit Slide Rock State Park. As the crowds dissipate, you can enjoy outdoor activities without much hustle. January is ideal for visiting this park because the temperature ranges between the low 30s and the mid-50s. It rains on average for about 4 days, so dressing in layers and preparing for an occasional shower is recommended.

Best Time To Visit Slide Rock State Park To Avoid the Crowds

Many travelers prefer to visit the park when there are fewer crowds. November is one of the best months to plan your visit, as it marks the beginning of the off-season, and the number of visitors drops significantly. During this time, the temperature ranges from the upper 30s to the mid-60s, with an average of 3 days of rain.

Bottom Line:

November is the perfect time to visit the park. You can explore at your own pace without worrying about crowds, traffic, and long lines.

Best Time To Visit Slide Rock State Park for Ideal Weather

It’s important to consider weather conditions when planning a vacation. Researching typical weather patterns beforehand can help you make an informed decision. If you want great weather, the best time to visit is May. This month, temperatures range from the upper 40s to the low 80s, perfect for outdoor activities. Additionally, you can expect an average of just 2 days of rain during May, so you won’t have to worry about your plans being ruined by wet weather.

Cheapest Time To Visit Slide Rock State Park

The most cost-effective time to visit this park is early to mid-September, when flight and accommodation prices are at their lowest throughout the year. A September visit can potentially save hundreds in travel expenses.

Annual Events in Slide Rock State Park

The park is a great place to visit because of its beautiful scenery and various monthly programs. While there are no regular annual events here, visitors can still expect to find an array of exciting activities and events that cater to different interests and age groups. You can check the park’s events page throughout the year to learn more about programs.

Where To Stay Near Slide Rock State Park

There are many options for setting up base camp when visiting this park.

Inside the Park

There are no lodging or camping opportunities within the boundaries of Slide Rock State Park.

Towns Near Slide Rock State Park

Several charming towns are within a short drive of the park. Whether you prefer the excitement and amenities of a big city or the tranquility of a small community, you’re sure to find the perfect accommodations to suit your preferences.

Flagstaff, Arizona

Flagstaff Arizona
Image Credit: Matt B on Unsplash

Slide Rock State Park is just 22 miles from the vibrant and bustling town of Flagstaff. Flagstaff is a town with history, culture, and recreation, offering many options for dining, lodging, and outdoor adventures.

Flagstaff has it all if you want to explore the many museums and galleries, hike the nearby mountains, or simply relax with a delicious meal at one of the many restaurants. The town is also home to numerous lodging options, from cozy bed and breakfasts to luxurious resorts, ensuring visitors can find the perfect place to stay to suit their needs.

Bottom Line:

With its proximity to the park, Flagstaff is the perfect home base for those looking to experience the area’s natural beauty.

Sedona, Arizona

Sedona is the closest city to Slide Rock State Park, just a few miles north of downtown Sedona. This city offers many accommodations to suit every budget and is a foodie’s paradise. Its stunning natural beauty makes it perfect for outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, and rock climbing. Additionally, there are many art galleries, museums, and cultural attractions to explore. Sedona is the perfect base for your Arizona adventure.

Where To Eat in Slide Rock State Park

There are no restaurants at Slide Rock State Park, except for some snacks that can be purchased at the park’s gift shop. Should you get hungry, the best option is to drive a few miles down the road and look for a place to eat.

Canyon Breeze Restaurant

Canyon Breeze Restaurant is in Sedona, approximately 7 miles from the park. It’s open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The menu offers a variety of classic favorite dishes such as brick-oven pizzas, burgers, sandwiches, salads, signature cocktails, fine wines, and draft beer. This is an ideal place to relax after exploring the park. The restaurant offers indoor and outdoor dining options with stunning views of the surrounding red rocks.

The Golden Goose American Grill

The Golden Goose American Grill is a highly-rated restaurant in Sedona, around 10 miles from the park. It is open daily for lunch and dinner and is popular among locals and tourists. The restaurant is known for its high-quality steaks, creative seafood dishes, and juicy burgers. It also offers a fantastic drink menu to complement your meal.

Spoke and Wheel Tavern

Spoke and Wheel Tavern, one of the top-rated restaurants in Sedona, is located 8 miles from the park. This family-style tavern offers contemporary American cuisine with a southwestern twist and is open daily for lunch and dinner. With its incredible dishes and a wide selection of wines and spirits, it’s the perfect place to relax after a day of adventures at the park.

Slide Rock State Park Facts

Slide Rock State Park
Image Credit: Arizona State Parks & Trails

1. The State Park Was Established in 1987

Slide Rock State Park became an official Arizona State Park in October 1987.

2. An Orchard Was the Original Use of the Land

In 1907, Frank L. Pendley came to this canyon to settle and eventually acquired the land under the Homestead Act of 1910. He then cultivated the land by planting a 43-acre apple orchard, growing garden produce, and raising livestock on his homestead. Today, the land he once owned is a park.

3. Slippery Sandstone Is the Park’s Namesake

The park was named after its slippery, smooth sandstone, which forms a natural slide.

4. Pendley Homestead Is on the National Register of Historic Places

The Pendley Homestead Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on December 23, 1991.

5. Lights, Camera, and Action Have Visited the Park

Slide Rock State Park has been featured in several movies, including “Angel and the Badman,” “Broken Arrow,” and “Gun Fury.”

Final Thoughts

Slide Rock State Park is an incredible destination that offers a wide range of adventure and outdoor activities. Whether you’re sliding down the natural waterslide, hiking the trails that meander through the park, observing the park’s wildlife, or enjoying a peaceful picnic amidst the breathtaking landscapes, there’s something for everyone to enjoy here.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to visit Slide Rock State Park?

The fees for vehicle entry vary based on the time of year you visit. From Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day, a vehicle carrying up to 4 adults must pay $20 on Monday through Thursday and $30 on weekends and holidays. From Labor Day to the end of October, the fee is $20. During other times of the year, the fee varies between $10 and $20.

How long should I plan to explore Slide Rock State Park?

Plan to spend an entire day exploring this park. This will give you enough time to hike all the trails, visit the main attractions, and take a refreshing dip in the water.

Are there any attractions near Slide Rock State Park that I should visit?

You may want to check out several area attractions when visiting this part of Arizona. These places include Montezuma Castle National Monument, Riordan Mansion, Sunset Crater Volcano, and Coconino National Forest.

Can I bring my dog to Slide Rock State Park?

Pets must be leashed and cleaned up at all times. They are not allowed in the swimming area and some other restricted zones.

Amar Hussain's image

About Amar Hussain

Amar is an avid traveler and tester of products. He has spent the last 13 years traveling all 7 continents and has put the products to the test on each of them. He has contributed to publications including Forbes, the Huffington Post, and more.

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